Keep your eyes on the ball #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Hello one and all, it’s that time again – FRIDAY! We’re going to get right to things today, and here we go…

While we have many posts on NQ about the content of stories, and do’s and don’t’s, one thing that needs to be said to all authors, but especially newbs, is to focus on the guts of the story. Everything you write should have one singular point that is the main focus for you. All that happens around that point is icing on the cake so to speak.

I’m talking about your core theme. Not that it has a murder mystery element, or that it’s supernatural, or sci-fi. What I’m talking about is the whole reason you’re writing it. For us, romance authors that is, it’s the romance element. While there is no singular way to write romance, or a right way to do it, you need to decide how the romance in your romance story progresses. And you must be consistent.

This does take a little forethought, and even some planning for some folks, while others can have it naturally unfold in a natural manner. Whatever works for you, but do keep your eye on the ball, or the end goal, or whatever turn of phrase works best for you.

For example, some good guidelines for your romance might be:

  • Boy meets girl, girl meets boy, boy meets boy (or whatever your combo might be)
  • The next logical step (depending on the story) would be getting to know one another however best fits your central theme
  • Along the same lines they would also spend time together perhaps doing things; walking, eating, sky diving, killing off mutant aliens determined to take over the planet and turn us all into mindless drones!!
  • There should also be some sex (d’uh!), or a lot of sex, or tonnes of sex, even copious amounts of sexual activity in all sorts of interesting positions and/or places – whatever floats your boat and works withing your central theme
  • and so forth, but you get the idea where this is going I’m sure…
  • Also, more sex
  • Did I mention sex?

Some things to avoid on the fringes of your romance might be:

  • Random surprises like killing off some character for pure shock value but for no real purpose
  • Jumping to a point too far ahead because you don’t know what to do to “fill in” the extra “time” before getting there – epilogues do not count, these are their own beasts of burden and can take place anywhere/anytime, as long as it works with your story line
  • Erratic behavior, unless that is who your character is – don’t put it in just because you can, again this all has to make sense from the first word to the last
  • Jolts are another one, this is often an unconscious thing an author does and one their editor should be catching. But a jolt (not really a writing term) is a break in the story line (whether a chapter break or a new chapter) that literally “jolts” the reader from the story – it’s disconcerting, and frankly often will ruin their read. A story should be one continuous, flowing read from start to end
  • Not having sex in a book that should have sex (ie: romance, erotic romance, erotica, etc.). If you are a “romance” writer, whether it be soft and gentle or hard and dirty, don’t fucking skimp on the sex

Basically the point I’m trying to make is find your center, your core theme, your be-all end-all for the story, and keep it front and center in your brain. And yes, like I said above, everything else that occurs is icing on the cake to make it a richer, deeper, more entertaining read – but it all still has to make sense. And most of all, it all actually has to work together. Don’t be random. Don’t do shock for shock’s sake. You’re an author, not a screenplay writer for Hollywood. Remember your craft, remember the artistry you have been gifted with, and treat it and your readers with the respect it/they deserve. In the end it can, and will benefit you.

So focus. Keep your eye on what truly matters to your story, and let the rest come as it may and how it might. Every story deserves to be told in the voice you have, but they will only be however long they need to be. No more, no less. You’ll know what needs to be said, what needs to be done, and when to type the words all authors both love and hate…

The End

Dear authors of the world #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday one and all – we made it through another one! Before I get any further first I want to shout out to all the fathers (in whatever form they take), and wish you all a very Happy Fathers Day. This weekend I’ll be off visiting with the familial sorts, including my own father, and do god only knows what. I keep getting texts of updated itemized itineraries – and this, right here in a nutshell, is why I only go home a couple times a year. They be cray-cray! But enough about the genetic insanity that flows through my ancestral lineage, onto today’s post.

Dear Authors of the world, you’d better buckle up, this one’s likely to sting! (to paraphrase a social media celebrity I quite enjoy following).

For the love of all that is shiny and bright in the universe – USE SPELL CHECK. No, I’m not merely talking about your books (although you should), and I’m not merely talking about your emails (although you really should), and I am not merely talking about your newsletters (although you really, really should). No, what I AM talking about is on social media – whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, wherever. THIS SHIT LIVES FOREVER. You may delete it from your feed, but you all should know by now there are people out there, evil and petty people, who live to make other folks lives miserable and they’ve already done a screen shot. They stalk you, plot against you, and yet have never met you face to face. You are their own personal Goliath, and they have devious, insidious, and plain dumb ass plans to “take you down”. Stop giving them the fucking ammo! Use spell check, or if you do make a mistake, FIX IT!

I cannot tell you how many posts I’ve read, from otherwise elegantly eloquent authors, which have me wondering if their accounts have been hacked by some brain eating, disease ridden alien. Because trying to equate someone who writes books which suck you in, and won’t let you go to the crap being spouted on social media – now that there be one hell of a noggin’ scratcher.

In no way am I saying you need to be perfect, no one is, but do try your best. And, for the love of all that’s fluffy and delightfully soft in the universe, stop with the text speak. 1) I really hate having to look up some of these acronyms, and 2) you look like an fool. We’ve all heard the saying to “use your words”. Well, if you are trying to keep your brand untainted, and create the right image for who you want to be seen as, you need to be consistent in all things. Don’t fucking fly off the handle on some random ass rant when you’ve never done it before. And use the English language as it was intended, to be concise and precise in getting across your point.

Now go slap some ice on that sting, and open a damn dictionary once in a while would you.

Not the ride I was looking for #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Greetings one and all, and happy Friday. Hope everyone has had a great week. Mine was decidedly strange, and truly should have ended on Wednesday. But I shall continue to slog through, it’s only a few hours more after all.

Today’s post is one that we’ve touched on prior here on NQ, but it obviously needs repeating. I’ve been reading a book which is the source of much angst currently in my life. Normally I can whip through an ebook in no more than two days, a paperback roughly three. This bugger has me currently at day four and I’m only half way through. It’s not a super long book by any means, 168 pages (print length), which for me is usually nothing.

But I’m having trouble with it. For one, the heroine has seesaw emotions that quite frankly have me feeling nauseous. I’m a roller coaster, slingshot, etc. riding maniac. The more something makes you scream the better. Yet this up and down with her emotions, one minute she’s terrified, two paragraphs later she’s all lovey-dovey, and then she’s angry, and then and then and then…

To top it off, roughly around chapter two, the hero in the story (and her future man) refers to himself in conversation with the antagonist. And not in a third person sort of thing, but as a separate person entirely. It threw me, completely. But so far it’s the worst thing that’s happen where he’s involved. The heroine on the other hand – she might just benefit from seeking professional help with her rather severe, and whiplash like mood swings.

While the concept of this book is also quite intriguing, the totality is thus far leaving me with no more than a bad taste.

Let’s be clear here authors. If your heroine/hero/secondary character, whomever, is in a traumatizing event – yes they should be a little out of sorts, and even moody. But once they have pushed through that initial trauma, unless you are specifically putting in some PTSD, quit with the emotional seesaw! Readers don’t like that shit. Other authors who read your works REALLY don’t like that shit. STOP IT!

The emotion of your character(s) needs to fit the situation. If it’s upbeat, light, and fun keep it that way. If you’re throwing them into danger than make sure their emotional state fits. Having your characters acting out of tune with the scene you’ve set in detail only confuses your readers, and makes it feel like slogging through the bayou on the hottest day on record. No fun at all.

So unless your one character knows something that the others in the situation don’t, or has had a horrid day, or ended up run over by a tanker trailer, try to keep their emotions on an even keel. Readers everywhere will thank you, and we on NQ won’t have to keep writing about it.

By any other name… #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday everyone, and also an early happy Mothers Day to everyone. I have to say that this week has been a weird one. Nothing I can put my finger on though. It’s almost like I’ve managed to completely forget something for the entire week. But haven’t got a damn clue what, lol! Oh well, probably doesn’t matter. After all, if it was something truly important I’m pretty sure someone would have said something … right?

Today’s post is probably going to be nearly as odd as my weeks been, so bear with me here. If I tumble into the ditch I promise I’ll pull myself back up eventually – if not, send help! Shakespeare’s quote from Romeo and Juliet started to meander around in my brain while I was doing some casual meandering about social media *cough* watching videos *cough*. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Most people know the saying, in part or in whole – depending if you were into Shakespeare’s funky English. Unlike some fellow classmates who groaned out loud, I quite enjoyed his word play. The man could turn quite a sentence.

The point here though is that people have all sorts of terms, phrases, or choice words for authors. But it doesn’t really matter – we are still authors. We are professional, or soon to be, wordsmiths. We slay dragons, save people, jump through flames, dash into danger, and a variety of other insanity every single day – with the words we write. While we may not be truly knights in dented armor, superheros, firefighters, cops/feds/etc., we do have ourselves a special skill set. We can take the letters of the English language, jumble them up, shake them viciously, and slap them silly until they turn into words. Words we then arrange, rearrange, and sometimes despair over, until we’ve created sentences. And where one sentence exists more are surely to follow.

Never let anyone take this away from you. Too many authors who have barely begun, or have been writing for years/decades, let the doubts get to them. And while I can’t speak for anyone but myself, this just isn’t right. It can be depressing, it can be lonely, you can and will feel isolated at times, and it will drive you right to the brink of insanity on the best of days, but it’s truly worth it. And that’s something anyone even thinking about stepping onto this cracked, chipped, and with the occasional stone missing path needs to consider. Authors need some level of self-assurance, inner strength, or ego even to take the first steps forward. You, the author, need to believe in who you are, your ability, and the vision you have for what’s to come.

Because without that, you too shall falter. But that doesn’t mean you have to let it stop you. We’ve all stumbled, scuffed a metaphorical knee, or taken a blow. It’s a fact of life. And unless you are living in a bubble, it’ll likely happen again. Something to be aware of especially in the era of instant everything.

Like that rose as long as you are putting words to paper you will be an author. No matter the name you, or those around you choose, it’s a truth that can never be taken away. So, now that my brain is starting to meander off I’ll finish up this post before we really go off the rails. Well, more than I already have that is.

Stay true to who you are, and to the path you have chosen. Stick with the vision you have in place and keep moving forward. Let the naysayers, and opinionated fools fall to the wayside. You’re going to be too damn busy writing to pay them any attention. Or you damn sure better be!

Recipe for success #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday everyone! It’s been a long week, but I’m happy to report that Mother Nature is apparently working on getting herself sorted out. We’ve been seeing blue skies with minimal clouds, and plenty of sun. I also saw a pair of robins out getting a snack, a sure fire sign that spring may have actually, and finally sprung. Fingers crossed! Now, onto the post – it’s a short one today. Too much sitting right after my chiropractor beats me up is exhausting.

Today’s post header is a lot misleading, but with a purpose. Too many people, ads, scammers, spammers, etc. all seem to have the “quick and easy, sure fire way, money making tips that THEY don’t want you to know about” formula that pulls in the unwary, or the lazy. Do. Not. Be. Lazy.

In this business of pouring out every emotion, thought, hope, dream, vindictive thought, guilty pleasure, and everything else onto paper – there is no quick way to shoot to the top. There are two types of authors who make it to the “big time”. Those who had plenty of luck on their side (right place, right time) and those who work hard. Those authors who fall into the first category still had to do a lot of the second. That’s right, hard work. But there is a trick to it, all you need to do is find out what works best for you, and put in the time and effort.

No, it’s not instantaneous, and no, it’s not easy. But to make it truly worthwhile you need to sweat it out, and have a couple sleepless nights. At the very least. In the end you’ll be all the more appreciative of the success, big or small, that you’ve gained. Because you earned it your way.

You need to think about writing, promo, and everything authoresque as that recipe you found online and are attempting for the first time. It may not work at all, or it may be just the ticket. But like any recipe you tackle sometimes it needs tweaking. Perhaps it had too much of this, and not enough of that. So you adjust and try again. Writing, like cooking or baking is always a work in progress. What may have worked a month ago may not be getting it done today. Don’t give up, just change how you’re looking at the problem.

Think outside the box you’re currently in. The air will do you good, and you never know what you might find out there. Can it be discouraging? Sure. But think of the euphoria you’ll feel when you find that right mix that gets you productive again. So get out there and find the recipe that works for you. Just don’t think it will always remain 100% the same.

Some pointers to help you on the long road:

  • Persistence is a virtue
  • Research is your friend
  • Watch and learn all you can
  • Ask questions when you hit a wall
  • Educate yourself, it’ll only help you get better
  • Set goals, from small to big to achieve each day for a sense of accomplishment
  • Learn when to step back and take a breath
  • and most of all, Don’t beat yourself up. This is a marathon not a sprint.

It’s a tough gig you’ve chosen, but knowing your limits and knowing when to push past them will get you far. Also, never be afraid to ask for help. The author community is vast and rather knowledgeable. Just make sure you know what you’re asking for to ensure no one feels their time is being wasted. We all get stumped from time to time, it’s okay if you do too. And, no matter what, keep on keeping on.

Unrealistic portrayals #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday everyone, and a happy Easter weekend to everyone. It’s time to get our chocolate on, lol! I’m heading out of town, and with fingers crossed that the weather holds out. While not unusual in Canada, no one wants snow to ruin their Easter fun.

For today’s post I want to discuss the “too perfect” characters some authors expect us to buy into. Now, to be clear, I’m talking about human characters mainly but also paranormal. Aliens are outside my realm of writing, so they are exempt from today’s roasting. Everything else is fair game, so here we go.

We humans as a species are imperfect – fact. We all have flaws whether we admit to them or not – fact. We all have at least one thing, often more than one thing, that we absolutely hate about ourselves – fact. Absolutely no human being on earth is perfect – fact. I’m sorry if this has caused anyone some upset, but it happens to be the truth. Anyone that says otherwise is a bold faced liar.

So why the fuck do authors continue to make characters flawless in every way?

Let’s be clear, I don’t mean in appearance because this is not the point of today’s post. Appearance is only the books cover. Do we occasionally get snagged first by the hottie on the cover? Sure, and there’s nothing wrong with that or admitting to it. But if that’s ALL we’re looking at then it’s a pretty shallow interpretation. We have to get to know the heart of an individual to truly understand them. Looks may be our instinctive first impression, but it should never, ever be the last. We as human beings are run by chemical and electrical impulses, but it’s the story behind the cover that gives us the context we need. And now that I’ve mixed metaphors, and realities around, let me get back on track a bit here.

Every character needs at least one flaw. Not merely hair that’s unruly or a crooked tooth giving a smile some character, although it does help, but some quirk or trait or situation that makes them more human. Yes, not every character is human, fully or otherwise. But for the readers very human brain to better relate they have to see in each character something that makes them flawed or different or unique. Maybe your character was injured, and everyday is a struggle. Maybe s/he never learned to read until s/he was an adult and still struggles from time to time. You get the idea.

Too perfect characters are the ones with every hair in place, or that just styled look that we all (at least once) wish we had going for us at some point. They have the job, the car, own their house/condo before they’re fifty, dream job, amazing high powered friends, etc. They are the unicorn among the cattle. Look too long or hard and you’ll pretty much go blind. They can do no wrong. And, let’s be honest here, they are as boring as fuck! No one, I repeat, NO ONE is perfect.

Yes, romance is fiction. Yes, there is a fantasy element to romance works. Yes, we all have had dreams about “that” guy being ours. But the sad, harsh reality is that “that” guy is either the biggest dick on the planet, would have you bored to tears before your first drinks arrived, or even worse still, he bats for the other team. Talk about depressing, right?

People screw up, sometimes in little ways and sometimes to epic extremes. This is a fact. This is a reality. And when a character (male or female) screws up and has to dig themselves from the hole they just dug. They’re driving a beater that’s being held together by duct tape and a prayer. They’ve had some unexpected expense crop up that has them sweating making rent, the car payment, or the bill payments. They got a cold they just can’t seem to shake. They have hay fever, or allergies, or something else that seems super mundane but is necessary. We’ve been there, lived through it, or known someone that’s been there, we can all relate to them.

So, authors one and all, remember the seemingly little things. The details that turn your perfect smiling, classical beauty, sex goddess into someone a little less other worldly, and let’s your readers feel closer to them. It doesn’t have to be much, but even a little something makes a huge difference. Keep it real as it were.

Enough to fill an ocean #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

It’s that time again folks, TGIF! Which also means it’s time for another post from yours truly. So let’s get down to it.

Every single person on the planet has doubts at one time, or another. For an author they can be crippling. And while there is no tried and true method to get around them, or banish them entirely, there is one key sentence that you should hold close. For when the wolves are baying outside your window, and doubt comes knocking on your door.

YOUR VOICE MATTERS.

For an author our voice is in every story we write, world we create, and characters we bring to life. Every word in every sentence tells part of the tale that is our voice. Our voices hold power, it can rise above the masses, or be soft enough that everyone must strain to catch it. We use it to draw outsiders deep within the walls we’ve built, paint the picture we wish them to see, and move them through the full range of emotions. From shock, to anger, to sadness, to joy and everything in between.

We are artists quietly toiling at our chosen craft, quite often in solitude. We’re distracted, absentminded, goofy, spacey, and any other number of terms. Not a single one of us is the same, except in a singular matter, doubt.

What if this is too much, or not enough? What if they don’t take, or worse what if they do? No one will read this, or will they? Maybe I shouldn’t put that part in, but what if I do? Can I say/do/have that in there? What if no one buys it? What if no one likes it? What if they hate it?

As I mentioned in last weeks post, you can’t please everyone. So push those questions drilling holes in your brain and squashing your creativity aside, and write. They are doubts, some will be stronger than others, but that’s okay too. You are allowed to doubt yourself from time to time, but do not let yourself get bogged down with them. Grab hold of something real, something tangible and yank yourself up from the mire that’s trying to swallow you whole and drown you. Throw your shoulders back, tilt your chin up high and let out a warriors cry.

YOUR VOICE MATTERS.

Make yourself a compliment jar. I know, it sounds silly, but trust me on this. Put in it every compliment you’ve ever gotten, each one written on it’s own piece of paper. Put in every great thing you’ve done, whatever you’ve accomplished (big or small), and everything that instantly brings a smile to your face. Pack all those little pieces of paper into that jar and leave it in your work space. When your doubts have you up against the ropes pull out one of those little things and give it a read. Embrace it, remember it, remind yourself that you are NOT your doubts.

And when in doubt (no pun intended) it doesn’t hurt to throw your head back and scream at the top of your lungs for no reason at all. It’s definitely cheaper than therapy, and a hell of a lot of fun. Especially in a crowd.

One size doesn’t fit all #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Welcome one and all. As we continue to shake things up on the blog I now get to post on a brand new day. This is going to take some getting used to I have to admit. I usually get a few hours to contemplate my post(s), all while sipping one of my many cups of coffee on a Saturday. So bear with me if my spelling mistakes suddenly take a huge upsurge in frequency, lol!

Today I want to discuss authors who are trying to be all things, to all people in their writing. Like my title says, one size doesn’t fit all. There is literally no way in this time or any other where you, the author, can satisfy every single person who will read your story. It is mathematically impossible.

There will always be someone, somewhere (usually in multiples) who has an issue with something about what you’ve written. Whether it’s the time, the location, the clothing, the language, the sex (it’s usually something about sex), how long the story is, how short it is, how much you/your publisher charged for it (that’s the other very popular complaint), the cover (pretty rare), or your creative interpretation or licence in regards to some detail (especially with real world places/locations). No matter how hard you try to write something that “shouldn’t” offend anyone – let me be straight with you here and now – there WILL ALWAYS be someone you offend.

Roughly 90% of the time it’s someone who just likes to hear themselves toot their own offended horn. 5% of the time it’s someone who didn’t a) read the description of your book (how dare you write an erotic romance and put it up where someone might buy it!), or b) disliked something you put in, or how you wrote it up. The other 5% is someone who’s offended by something, goes on a massive tangent, and it has NOTHING to do with your book. At all. As in, they didn’t even read your work but something else entirely, but put their rant and low one star rating on your product. You can usually tell from their overuse of capitalization, long winded sentences without any punctuation, and some reference to some point that never got near your work even in your earliest days of outlining. For example, you wrote a story which is in 19th century France, but they are going on about the fucking robots on Centurion Prime, and such things. These folks we like to recommend reporting and ignoring.

While most authors do try to watch their “turn of phrase” in a book they write, along with any local slang that might confuse a reader, and we all have some that have been part of our language since the first day we began to speak, you can’t go about writing your story while trying to dance across eggshells. As an author you have a solemn duty to yourself, and your characters to write from the heart. Yes, ensuring you are staying accurate with any real world location/event is usually a good idea, but we’re authors. We are licenced to occasionally flex our creative muscles for our stories. If you like a certain building in a certain city you’re writing in, but don’t particularly care for the fact it’s a fashion store go ahead and make it your own. You’re one hundred percent covered. It’s in your legal portion right up front in the book before you hit the good stuff – at least it damn well better be! In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, this is Evernight’s official “covering of our author asses”:

“This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.”

In other words: They know a guy named Joe who they hate, and had to kill in this book because doing it in real is illegal – and they don’t look good in orange. They adore that building in that city and while we know a bunch of you readers live there, they happen to hate what’s in it so for the sake of their story they are stealing the structure and using it for their own evil plans (like a BDSM club, muahaha!). They know all about that big ass war they are referencing as vaguely as possible (or maybe not so much), and you readers who were history buffs totally clued in but for the sake of their story line they moved it a few days/months/years to make it all fit.

Stuff like that.

We write fiction, even those who are writing historical or period works. Fiction, all of it. Which means ignore those folks who are tripping over the fact that you changed up their favorite spot in some city to work into your story. If they have issue direct their uptight selves to said legal speak and continue on with your day. We’re authors, we need to stretch our creative wings to ensure we are remaining true to what our muse has given to us as a gift. Naysayers need not apply.

Now, before I let you go, one last thing. This has been said a few times on here before, but because of what I’ve just written I want to emphasis this here and now. NEVER, EVER GET INTO IT WITH A TROLL. People will leave crappy reviews, so be it. People will leave shitty reviews that are in no way related to your work, report them and move on. People will try to get up in your metaphorical face on social media, remember your zen place and point to the legal stuff before going about your day. Do not EVER get into a battle of words with a troll, or some ignorant fool. They will only drag you down to their level by raising your blood pressure – and they are better at the low blows because that’s all they have ever known.

So, write what makes you happy. Write what makes your characters clamor to be heard. Write what makes you smile, bite your lip, or squirm in your seat. Write for yourself. You cannot please everyone in this life, so don’t let them take a second away from what you are doing best. Writing.

Confused much? #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Hello one and all, welcome to another #SensualSunday post. Another week lies ahead of us, and who knows what it might bring. Maybe new ideas, or a plot twist, or even a solution to that section in your latest WIP that’s been driving you insane. One never knows but if you keep your eyes and ears open you never know what you may find.

Today’s post is all about genre choice. Seems simple enough. But I’ve run across some books that have left me feeling dazed and highly confused about their genre.

As any author knows our characters are our guiding forces. They tell us what we need to know to form the story they have to share. To an author they are living, breathing beings and while they don’t have any real form to them, the story they are contained in gives them shape.

Now, determining who these characters are, where they are from, what they do, believe in, and so forth helps an author to figure out what the genre of the book will be. I’m not talking about what genres your publisher (if you use one) might list it under, but your core genre. For instance, Paranormal or Sci-Fi. Everything outside of that, like romance, BDSM, etc. is icing on the cake. But an author needs to know, going in, what their genre is to be.

Could it change part way through? Sure, but if it does that means the previously written portions need to be altered/updated to fit. You can’t have half a book being one genre and the rest something else entirely. It’s like writing a werewolf story that suddenly because a zombie horror but there was never any mention of zombies! This is also where reader confusion kicks in. If a reader doesn’t feel like they have just read a cohesive work, they are going to say something. Usually nothing very flattering.

Time for an example. One book I read a while back was decidedly a paranormal romance. Clear as day. No question about it. Then I hit roughly the two-thirds mark and everything changed. Took on a fantasy, almost sci-fi feel to it. Threw me for one hell of a loop. Had me questioning all I’d previously read. Was it so subtle that I missed the clues the author had potentially dropped? Sadly, no. I finished the book, let it digest, and then went back to read it again a couple days later. I knew the ending, knew all this additional information, but it still was reading as a para-romance for over the first half of the book. No hint (and I was reading word for word slowly) of the shift in dynamics/situation to come. It was almost as if the author had run out of material and smooshed in some extra stuff they’d had on the side to get their word count up. After the second reading I was even more confused by the story, and while the characters had remained (for the most part) the same through it all, that sudden jolt to a whole new tale part way through rattled me.

Now, as an author myself I can’t post reviews on sites under my author name. Not that I apparently needed to. Between the time I’d bought the book, and then got around to reading it, there had been several reviews left about it. All had more or less the same core theme to them – what the hell had they just read? And ratings that reflected this overall thought. All of which dragged the book down through the ranks because folks were shying away from it.

Was it a good read? Yup, right up to that point where everything began to change, and not for the better. If the author had written these two genres as separate books they’d likely have had raving reviews from the readers. But smashing them into one just made one hell of a mess. Running out of material for a story is absolutely no excuse to do this. Stories are only as long as they need to be. Not determined by us authors, but by our characters.

So let’s be clear here. Pick your genre based on what your characters are feeding you. If, and it can happen, the characters lead you in a new direction like my example above then go back to the beginning and fix it. Keep your story one cohesive piece that is melded in perfection. Any editor worth their salt would catch you making this mistake, but for those who don’t have one at their disposal for whatever reason, take care. At the very least use a beta reader to ensure what you have to publish is a tight work that reflects on you in the best light.

XO Moira Callahan

Mood & ‘tude #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Good morning one and all, it’s that time again. To turn your clocks ahead (oops! needed to edit this) one hour if you are among the unlucky stuck with Daylight Savings. An outdated, and in my opinion, useless practice that maybe made sense at one point, but seems to be nothing more than a major pain in the derriere now. If they wanted to make it less painful, they should actually put it in the middle of a Monday – at least in Spring – who wouldn’t mind losing an hour off their Monday?

All right, enough moping, onto the post.

MOOD:  1 A temporary state of mind or feeling; 1.1 The atmosphere or pervading tone of something ~ Oxford online dictionary

ATTITUDE:  1 A settled way of thinking or feeling about something; 1.1 A position of the body indicating a particular mental state; 2 Truculent or uncooperative behavior ~ Oxford online dictionary

We authors are always trying to paint a certain mood with our stories. Whether it’s making the reader laugh, cry, or sit on the edge of their seats with tension, our goal is to create something the reader can’t help but get swept up into. Easy to do? Hell to the no it’s not! But every now and again the planets and stars align.

Then there is attitude, easy enough to portray with your characters actions and words, but there is a fine line of going too far or not far enough. No author wants a wishy-washy character who’s boring or dull, but you also don’t want a character that everyone is disgusted by or straight up hates. Unless they are the bad guy/gal in the story or the character to be reformed, then go for it. Make them reviled for every metaphorical breath they take. Have your readers hoping, and rooting for their demise.

Now there is the combination. Getting the right mood that works with the attitude’s you’re bringing to the scene, and vice versa. If one part is off it creates a disjointed scene that interrupts the entire flow to the story you’re telling. Learning to blend them in the right proportions does take time, and also takes listening to your beta readers and editors. They will help you to navigate these treacherous waters, and keep everything on the straight and narrow.

What may help you best is visualization of the scene. Put yourself into the mindset of the character, in that scene, and go from there. Not easy, but with time you’ll train your brain to do it and it’ll come faster, and easier with each story you write. This includes every character from your mains, to your antagonist, to the next door neighbor, to the individual at their “favorite” coffee house taking orders. The better you can picture them the better you can write them and create the realism that will help your readers view them as “real”.

So visualize the mood of your scene, get your character’s attitude geared up, and write. While there will be tweaks to be made – there always are – go with whatever you/they are feeling in that moment. You never know what might come about, or what you may create. Get your feels on folks.

XO Moira Callahan